Greetings duplicitous kin.
I am considering building a traitor astartes army (for the 5th time... ) and I am in between Night Lords and Alpha Legion.
However I wanted to ask you some things, if you might be so fiendishly inclined to help me (even if its just so you can blackmail me later ).
Why would you recommend the Alpha Legion as a modeling project and a playing army?
How would you paint them? any tips on the colors and such?
I really hope you can help me with this.
Welcome, co-conspirating frater.
I understand the draw - after F&F I, too, am tempted to add a bit of NL spice to my army... after I finish my 7 other projects that are still unfinished...
Why the XXth for modeling
Lay worded it best. No matter how you build an AL army, it's "fluffy." It's a great Legion to build the style of play that you want (more on that in a bit). So no matter what flavor of Chaos you like, it will have a home in the XXth. What makes it even more fun is which models you use. I'll start with myself as an example. All of my basic troops, bikes, HQs, etc. are all Mark IV Heresy models. My Raptors are Mark VI. I use Heresy-style armor and models for all of my un-tainted models, including many of the 30k kits (Headhunters, Laerneans). But I also mix in "proper" Chaos sculpts for anything that has been tainted. Possessed are DV Chosen that I converted. Oblits, DP, and the MoP are as-is. And I've got all kinds of different Cultists kitbashes I use. And I paint them all in that brilliant, beautiful Heresy-style. And even though 75% of my models aren't Chaos models, it still looks like an AL army.
But that's just how I like my AL. Everyone has a different idea of what the XXth looks like, and we're all right (because of course we are... we're all Alpharius). I love my style, but I just as much love seeing when people go all-in with the new CSM models. And all of the variations of our green-blue color. In the XXth, more than any other Legion, you have a much broader artistic licence to do whatever you like.
Why the XXth for playing
Again, courtesy of F&F, there's a lot more 'flavor' in the different Legion play styles. And this is just going to come down to how you prefer to play. NL (from what I can gleam from the rules) are far more of a Bully and Beatstick army. They want to be in the enemy's face, harassing them, and can build some potent beatstick characters to get into those front lines and smash. Far more aggressive, larger damage output. AL, though, would not want to be played that way. We want to hang back, keep our distance, and honestly stay out of combat. We're a shooting CSM army, but even more than that... we're the movement CSM army. Positioning, repositioning, and overall board control is what we do better than others now. Additionally, just by the nature of the tricks we can pull, it actually takes a bit of a toll on the opponents' thinking and planning. It can force second-guessing, or wrong decisions. And then we exploit that weakness. While most of the other Legions are "Death by Battle Axe" we are a "Death by 100 Daggers".
But I mean it when I say we're not a combat army. Unlike the other Legions, we didn't get anything to help mitigate 9" charges, nor did we get a relic or strat that can make for a big beatstick character. Which is fine - our trait wants us to stay outside of 12" anyway. But I still bring Berzerkers, Possessed, and/or Spawn, so don't think you can't still have some fun melee combat too.
How do you paint the XXth
Funny enough, right now is the easiest time to paint AL. The simplest method? Base the model in Leadbelcher and then use that new green Contrast paint on the armor. With that alone, you're 90% done and it looks great for how easy it is. There's a WarhammerTV video that walks you though it. WHTV also has a slightly older video for "Battle-Ready Alpha Legion" using the 'traditional' paints. I have my own recipe with various pearlescent airbrush paints. Some folks prefer a darker blue, some folks prefer a darker green. I know Testors has a small spray can of colorshift paint that's blue and green, so if used well that could look really awesome.
The trick is to find a balance between the color you like and the amount of work you have to put in to finish a model. Strike that balance and you'll be happy.
Hope this helps!